President Bongbong Marcos
The country’s 17th president, the first to achieve a majority feat in elections since 1986 when his father, then-President Ferdinand Marcos, was toppled from 20 years of political power following the so-called EDSA Revolution, has delivered his inaugural address where he outlined his vision for the next six years and beyond.
In simple but formal ceremonies at the National Museum on the side of the sprawling Luneta Park in Manila, the country’s capital, the 64-year-old President unreeled his dream where he hopes to see a united population following the turbulent 90-day campaign that started on February 8.
The ceremonies, complete with a military parade and intermission numbers, had been attended by representatives of foreign governments, including former Philippine presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Following his oath in Filipino, administered by the 65-year-old Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, BBM’s left palm resting on a thick Bible, he talked about a new chapter in the country’s history where he intoned “I extend my hand to all Filipinos.
“Come, let us put our shoulders to the wheel and give that wheel a faster turn to repair and to rebuild and to address challenges in new ways to provide what all Filipinos need to be all that we can. We are here to repair a house divided, to make it whole, and to stand strong again in the Bayanihan way, expressive of our nature as Filipinos.
“We shall seek, not scorn dialogue, listen respectfully to contrary views, be open to suggestions coming from hard thinking and unsparing judgment but always from us, Filipinos. We can trust no one else when it comes to what is best for us. Past history has often proven that.”
Indeed, the inaugural was a historic moment admitted by the President.
He said: “This is a historic moment for us all. I feel it deep within me. You, the people have spoken and it is resounding. When my call for unity started to resonate with you, it did so because it echoed your yearning, mirrored your sentiments, and expressed your hopes for family, for country and for a better future.
“That is why it reverberated and amplified as it did, to deliver the biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.”
He added: “By your vote, you rejected the politics of division. I offended none of my rivals in this campaign. I listened instead to what they were saying and I saw little incompatibility with my own ideas about jobs, fair wages, personal safety, and national strength and ending want in a land of plenty.
“I believe that if we focus on the work at hand, and the work that will come to hand, we will go very far under my watch. You believe that too. And I listened to your voices who are calling for unity, unity, and unity.
“We will go further together than against each other, pushing forward not pulling each other back out of fear, out of a misplaced sense of weakness. But we are the furthest from weak. The Filipino diaspora flourishes even in the most inhospitable climes, where they are valued for their quality.
“The changes we shape will benefit all and will shortchange no one. I was not the instrument of change, you were that. You made it happen. I am now.”
He admitted he had been chosen to be the Filipino people’s — his term – servant to enable changes to benefit all 110 million-plus population.
Let’s read his lips, and let’s listen to the echoes of his sentiments as the 17th leader of the Philippines: “I do not take it lightly but I’m ready for the task. I will need your help. I want to rely on it but rest assured I do not predicate success on the wide cooperation that’s needed. I will get it done.
“I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence in a land filled with people with the greatest potential for achievement, and yet they were poor. But he got it done. Sometimes, with the needed support. Sometimes, without.
“So, will it be with his son. You will get no excuses from me.”
He put it succinctly that he was not there, addressing his supporters and his critics, to talk about the past.
Mighty phrasal verbs: “I am here to tell you about our future. A future of sufficiency, even plenty of readily available ways and means to get done what needs doing – by you, by me.
“We do not look back, but ahead. Up the road that we must take to a place better than the one we lost in the pandemic. Gains made and lost. Opportunities missed.
“Well-laid plans superseded by the pandemic. Indeed, ours was the fastest growing economy in the ASEAN byways now outdated. We shall be again, by a radical change in the way the world must now work to recover what we lost in that fire and move on from there.
“We face prospects of the war abroad of which we are totally blameless.
“We seek friendship with all. But countries like ours will bear the brunt of it. And if the great powers draw the wrong lessons from the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, the same dark prospect of conflict will spread to our part of the world.”
The President spoke a lot in the 30 minutes he stood before his audience.
We are sure he was properly understood.